Max Robinson understood the power of visibility.

Robinson began his television career in 1959 as a news broadcaster in Portsmouth, Virginia. Robinson, an African-American broadcaster during segregation, was forced to read the news while hidden behind a slide of the station’s logo. Fed up with the racist practice, Robinson had the slide removed, and was fired the next day. He then moved to WRC-TV in Washington, DC, and stayed for three years, winning six journalism awards for coverage of civil-rights events such as the riots that followed the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Robinson not only combated racially unjust policies in journalism; he used his platform to illuminate the struggles of underserved populations in the district. Robinson won two regional Emmys for a documentary his documentary on black life in Anacostia — The Other Washington. In 1969, Robinson joined the Eyewitness News team at WTOP-TV (now WUSA-TV) in Washington, DC. He would later become the first African-American broadcast network news anchor in the United States and help to found the National Association of Black Journalists.

While private in life regarding matters of his health, Max requested posthumously that his family reveal that he lived with AIDS so that, according to reports, “Others in the black community would be alerted to the dangers and the need for treatment and education.”

For his service to Washington DC, his trailblazing presence in media and his understanding that representation matters, Whitman-Walker Health is proud to display Max Robinson’s section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Conceived in 1985, The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a living monument to over 92,000 individuals whose lives have been lost to the AIDS pandemic.

Max Robinson; your legacy lives on through the work that we do to bring visibility to the people who need it most.​